5 ways indie musicians can gain a following
The goal of every musician is to make a living off of their music. It’s not always the easiest feat, but it’s most certainly an attainable one. The digital age opens the doors for a lot of opportunities for musicians around the globe, but many of those opportunities subconsciously close doors to other opportunities for musicians. We’re going to highlight a few ways that indie musicians can gain a following and earn a living from their music.
Attend singer-songwriter events in your area
Nearly every major city will have some kind of meet-up for musicians to meet-up, network, and showcase their music. These events–depending on the event–may have local or national celebrities there. These events are incredible for independent musicians to learn about the music industry, other genres and styles of music, as well as industry professionals that keep the industry running.
If you live in a small town, do some research and find out what (if any) events are held. If there aren’t any that pique your interest, then find the next closest city that hosts these events. You may need to plan out a trip one weekend.
Perform at any viable opportunity
If you’re given the opportunity to perform and share your talents with the world, take it. You wouldn’t want to go to a country music meet-up and perform rap, but you could perform at the local fair, talent show, and various events/concerts that come through the area. Reach out to the various venues in your area to see what bands/artists are coming through and inquire to the venue owner or promoter about how you can get in and share your talents with the world!
Build brand awareness through outputs like merchandise
When you see a billboard on the highway, you don’t instantly go and purchase something from that store, service, etc. That’s because billboards are used to build brand awareness; they’re used to stay on your radar so you don’t forget about them. Then, if and when the time comes you need their service, you’ll know who to go to. This is a similar concept for musicians.
While you may or may not provide a service alongside producing music, it’s great to keep your name and image embedded into people’s lives. Becoming a household name in music can almost guarantee your success. When you’re performing or attending the aforementioned singer-songwriter events, make sure that you’re selling merch or handing out business cards/flyers to your upcoming events. This can be t-shirts, wristbands, phone cases, stickers, whatever. These merch items are acting as your living, walking billboards. We’ve discussed selling merchandise as another form of revenue for musicians in a previous article.
Learn the ins and outs of marketing, especially on social media
You can’t connect with everybody, but you can connect with anybody. Social media is one of the best ways that you can connect with your fans and followers. On Twitter, you should be posting at least two or three times a day, as Twitter is a very live-action platform. On Facebook, you can getaway with posting at least once per day. CoSchedule has shared an amazing article on the frequency of posting for each social media platform.
Utilize social media to promote your music, events, giveaways, contests, and more. If a follower shares one of your tracks, events, contests, or giveaways on Twitter, for example, engage with them. Re-tweet it, thank them, or like the tweet. Showcasing that you’re an artist/band that cares for their fans shows that you’re genuine and truly care about what they have to say. I’d much rather follow someone that engages with me rather than someone that doesn’t.
Work with people that know what they’re doing
Seriously. If you want to succeed in anything in life, then surrounding yourself with people you can learn from, trust, and know what they’re doing is imperative. Just because your best friend is your most supportive and hard-working fan doesn’t mean that they’re best suited for working with you. It’s understandable that you want to help your friends out, but it’s not always the most feasible option if you want to define a path for success. Always, always, always, work with people that know what they’re doing and can help you in your endeavors.